NASHVILLE, April 24, 2017– As Session continue to wind down, here are a few updates from Capitol Hill in Nashville.
Firearm Carry Legislation Continues Advancing
We passed a great piece of legislation on the House floor last Monday. The legislation allows members of our armed services who have undergone firearm training to be exempt from certain parts of the handgun carry permit process. The permit process consists of classroom instruction, firing range training and instruction, fingerprinting and a background check. Once Governor Haslam signs the bill, those members of our military will have the ability to forgo firing range training as part of their permitting process.
As you may know, I am an unapologetic supporter of our Second Amendment and all our constitutional liberties. I believe our district cares specifically about Second Amendment rights and supporting citizens who have served in our country in the military. House Bill 689 does both of those, and that’s why I was proud to offer my support.
I have also mentioned legislation considered earlier in the session, which grants a temporary handgun carry permit to victims of domestic violence. I joined in support of House Bill 752 by signing on as a cosponsor of the legislation. While the amount of time it takes to go through the permitting process has decreased, it is still too lengthy to protect this group of individuals while they are at their most vulnerable. Next week, we will be reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation before sending it on to become law.
Rescue Squad and Volunteer Firefighter Relief
Our volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members go through a significant amount of training and volunteer so much time in order to serve all of us. One bill I am cosponsoring is expected to be considered in the House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee next week and was advanced to the Senate Finance Committee last week. The legislation exempts these individuals from paying vehicle registration fees.
In order to receive the exemption, individuals must present a sworn affidavit from a station captain or chief. This will also ensure they are still actively serving.
Cell Phones at Polling Places Advances
Legislation allowing voters to use mobile devices while in polling places advanced this week. The bipartisan bill comes as an effort to revise state law and implement common sense protocols for individuals preparing to vote.
Advocates for the legislation use the example of a person standing in a lengthy line while waiting to vote. Under most circumstances, that individual will not have the legal ability to use a mobile electronic device, no matter the actual distance from a voting booth. Included in the legislation are clear stipulations that individuals may not communicate while in the actual voting booth, or even within 10 feet. It also spells out that devices may not be used while registering with polling place personnel.
The bill also makes it legal to capture a photograph while within a voting booth. It stipulates that if a photograph is captured, it may not be used for voter intimidation or other forms of voter fraud.
Next week the House will see the Budget for the coming year and do what the TN Constitution requires of us . . . balance it! Every time we get to this point in Session, I am reminded that our federal government should be required to do the same thing.
It is an honor serving the people of Maury County. It really is the best place to live, work and raise our families in Tennessee!